From: Matt Viser [mailto:email@example.com]
Sent: Wednesday, July 13, 2016 7:32 PM
To: Velz, Peter T. EOP/WHO ; Gabriel, Brian A. EOP/WHO
Subject: WH pool report #3
Pool was escorted into a room on the third floor of the Eisenhower Executive Office Building, next to the White House.
The meeting -- which included POTUS and a range of officials and activists to discuss community policing and criminal justice -- was scheduled to begin at 2:45 and appeared to go longer than expected (we held in a main hallway for 30 minutes, then moved to a side hallway for 30 more before finally entering at 6:48pm).
POTUS spoke for about 14 minutes, summarizing the meeting and expressing both hope for progress and warnings about how difficult it will be.
"Not only are there very real problems but there are still deep divisions about how to solve these problems," he said. "There is no doubt that police departments still feel embattled and unjustly accused. And there is no doubt that minority communities, communities of color, still feel like it just takes too long to do what's right."
"The pace of change is going to feel too fast for some and too slow for others," he added. "And sadly, because this is a huge country that is very diverse, and we have a lot of police departments, I think it is fair to say that we will see more tension between police and communities this month, next month, next year, for quite some time."
"We have to as a country sit down and just grind it out. Solve these problems," he added.
Around a large rectangular table were various activists, police officers, and administration officials. Some were in police uniforms, others in business suits. They had bottles of water in front of them, with microphones that could be activated if they spoke.
"There's still a diversity of views around this table, and that's by design," POTUS said. "Not everybody agrees on everything."
Some were protesting just this past week, he added.
POTUS then listed five areas where there was broad agreement. Check against a full transcript that the White House will distribute, but here's a quick summary:
1) There's more work to build confidence after force - particularly deadly force - to make sure the investigation is fair and that justice is done.
2) Continuing to work with police departments on training, hiring, and recruitment.
3) More data needs to be gathered and shared. Police departments "either don't have good data collection or it's not in a form everyone can use." (He joked that even the resources of the federal government can't get this done. "Some of you may remember we had a problem with our Heath care initiative," he said).
4) Examine how the federal government can help, which is complicated with 18,000 different law enforcement entities
5) Changes need to be sustained and long-lasting.
"The roots of the problems we saw this week date back not just decades -- they date back centuries," he said. "There are cultural issues and there are issues of race in this country. And poverty. And a whole range of problems that will not be solved overnight."
POTUS took no questions. "They've all promised to take Michelle's call when she's wondering where I was for dinner," he said of the meeting participants.
He got up and began shaking hands, as the pool was led out of the room.
A full lid was called at 7:23pm
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